Spirituality and the pastor’s dilemma

November 7th, 2023

Finding meaning and purpose in a world that values success and productivity above all else can be challenging. As a leader, you face the challenge of staying connected to your spiritual source while meeting the needs and expectations of those around you. Balancing these needs is the pastor’s dilemma.

You’ve experienced the highs of ministry – those moments when each interaction feels purposeful, each meeting productive, each worship service inspired, and each vision propels the church forward. However, along with the highs of ministry, you have also experienced the lows of ministry: not enough sleep, or support, or forward momentum, or exercise, or private time, or vacation, or money, or fun. Or, most importantly, not enough personal time with God. This too is the pastor’s dilemma.

Here’s the pastor’s dilemma put a different way. Can you afford to focus on your own spiritual health at the expense of the needs of the church? Can you afford not to?

Making Spirituality a Non-Negotiable Endeavor

It is crucial to remember that your spiritual journey is a lifelong pursuit. Like all important relationships, your personal connection with God requires regular attention and nurturing. When you make investing in this intimate relationship a non-negotiable, you become better able to navigate the pastor’s dilemma. By embracing spirituality, you’ll find that it is possible to nurture your own soul while guiding others on their spiritual paths.

So how do you find the time to embrace your own spiritual journey? I find that when I dedicate time each day for prayer and meditation, it gets easier. First, I’m building a habit that is connected to the time of day. Second, I am experiencing a newfound soul-connection that I come to crave every day. This makes me want to come back for more. I recommend establishing a particular time of day to spend one on one time with God. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, midday, or night. God is present and available 24/7. Simply choose the time that works best, and most consistently, for you.

The pastor’s dilemma asks, “How do you pursue the spiritual journey?” Here are some things I do: immersing myself in nature walks, reflective writing, two-way prayer, and using questions based on the Examen. There’s always the wonderful Wesleyan question, too: “How is it with your soul?” This simple yet profound question opens the door for honest reflections and meaningful discussions about your spiritual well-being. The important thing is to find practices that draw you deeper into the presence of God.

As a spiritual leader, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible power of nurturing deep spirituality. The more I focused on my spirituality, the more I was naturally led to teach about it, preach about it, and invite others into the journey. Turns out they were as hungry for spiritual sustenance as I was. Embracing spiritual practices not only rejuvenated my soul but also positivly impacted my community of faith.

I think you’ll find this too. As you delve deeper into your own spirituality, you will create ripples of change that extend beyond yourself, influencing your interactions, emotions, decisions, and energy in your spaces. As you do this, you not only transform the pastor’s dilemma, you transform other people’s dilemmas too. They need the spiritual connection as much as you do.

As you deepen your spiritual connection, I encourage you not to be stingy. Share authentically about your own journey and I think you’ll be glad to find that others want to join you.

I invite you to join me on this transformative journey. In Creating a Culture of Renewal®, we explore together how deepening your spirituality can enrich your life and the lives of your congregation. You are also welcome to join me at one of my free upcoming seminars, How Christian Ministries are Achieving Success: An Introduction to Creating a Culture of Renewal®. Through meaningful conversations, we can uncover the profound impacts that spirituality can make, fostering growth, connection, and transformation.

Excerpted from Rebekah Simon-Peter's blog, used with the author's permission.

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